James Wright was an American poet who wrote about loneliness, alienation and the lives of the disenfranchised, often drawing on his native Ohio River valley for images of nature and industry. His father worked in a glass factory, and his mother in a laundry. Wright, who suffered from depression and bipolar mood disorders, and struggled with alcoholism his whole life, spent time in the army before earning his PhD at University of Washington. Known as an innovator, Wright discovered an influential new poetics that relies on strong images, plainer speech, looser rhythms and few rhymes. His powerful poems of sorrow and salvation are often dark, yet life-affirming—as with his collection The Branch Will Not Break, about the enduring human spirit. Wright’s 1972 Collected Poems won the Pulitzer Prize, his work has been widely anthologized, and he’s shaped the work of generations of poets.